“I was working for the Canadian Broadcasting Company in Toronto and one of my first assignments was to host a High School quiz show called Reach for the Top. You may have seen that particular show mimicked by Eugene Levy and the SCTV guys years ago,” he explained during a May 12 episode. “But those TV shows are still out there and the ones Eugene Levy did of me are hilarious [and] funnier than Will Ferrell on Saturday Night Live.”
“Keep in mind he had a black mustache and black hair and just looked more like me,” Alex continued. “He would be able to demonstrate frustration with the contestants a lot better than Will, on Saturday Night Live. He’s a lot cooler and doesn’t get too upset.”
After Reach for the Top ended in 1970, Alex booked a plane ticket and went to the United States. There, he hosted a number of game shows such as The Wizard of Odds and High Rollers until he landed Jeopardy! in 1984. At the time, the show was still a small production and Alex had to wear multiple hats.
“When we started I was the producer and I think we had six writers, two contestant coordinators, one researcher, a stage manager and myself,” he told Paula, 60. “We couldn’t have been more than 20 [people.] Now we’re probably up to 100.”
36 years later, Alex is still hosting the show and in a January interview with Closer Weekly, he jokingly revealed who he’d like to replace him if he ever decided to leave. “Let’s see, Betty White,” he said after revealing he was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer in March. “Here’s my choice.”
However, if the Jeopardy! is unable to get Betty, 98, then Alex is fine with any woman who’s “bright” and has a “good sense of humor.” But thankfully, the TV personality doesn’t plan on giving up Jeopardy! anytime soon and he even told viewers that he was near remission.
“The one-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer patients is 18 percent,” Alex tweeted in March. “I’m very happy to report I just reached that mark.” Looking back, it’s hard to believe his career happened after he hosted Reach for the Top in 1966.